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Carbohydrates Essay

883 words - 4 pages

What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are organic molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen that serve as energy sources and structural materials for cells of all organisms. Most organic matter on earth is made up of carbohydrates because they are involved in so many aspects of life, including:
• Energy stores, fuels, and metabolic intermediaries.
• Ribose and deoxyribose sugars are part of the structural framework of RNA and DNA.
• The cell walls of bacteria are mainly made up of polysaccharides (types of carbohydrate).
• Cellulose (a type of carbohydrate) makes up most of plant cell walls.
• Carbohydrates are linked to many proteins and lipids (fats), where they are ...view middle of the document...

There are many different types of fiber. In general, fibers are divided into two basic types, soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. Both types of fiber have important roles in health and regulating the passage of food through the intestine. (Hermann)
How does the body use it?
Dietary carbohydrates provide glucose that body cells can use for energy. Excess glucose beyond what the body needs for immediate energy is converted into glycogen, a storage form of carbohydrate, or converted into fat and stored in body fat cells.
Glucose provides energy for all body cells. The brain and nerve cells use only glucose for energy. If blood glucose levels fall too low, glycogen is broken down to provide glucose. The body can only store enough glycogen to provide about a half-day’s supply of energy. Since glycogen stores are only enough to provide energy for a short time, the body needs a frequent supply of carbohydrates. Although many cells use fat for energy, the brain, nerve cells, and developing red blood cells cannot. The body cannot convert fat into glucose to a significant degree. Thus, without glucose, the body is forced to break down its protein tissues to make glucose for energy, which can lead to muscle loss. (Hermann)
How important are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates play an important role. Not only do they provide energy in the form of glucose, but they also help your body use proteins more efficiently and metabolize fats properly. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred form of energy for sustaining daily activity. High-carbohydrate foods typically provide substantial amounts of other important nutrients as well, specifically vitamins and minerals, along with dietary fiber. (Hyman)
How much does the body require?
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